Many women, including new moms, have asked how I was able to transition from working outside the home to being a homemaker. I’ll start with a little history, and then I’ll answer the question.
From a young age, I always looked forward to someday being a wife and mom. I wanted to have fun with my husband and children, snuggling up in front of the fire, talking about everything, being a friend with my husband, holding my babies, wondering who they would each become, going on fun trips, and training my children.
After Mark and I were married, we chose to wait a few years to have kids. We were married while still in college, and after graduation we had college debt to pay off and wanted to be as ready as possible to be parents. I worked in the corporate world at an advertising company until I got pregnant. We both had strong Biblical convictions (Titus 2:4-5) that I was to be “working at home” when we started a family. So I hired and trained my replacement at my workplace and came home.
There was a short time of adjustment, mainly because I felt a sense of accomplishment (and probably identity) at work. In the workplace, I compiled 300+ page proposals for clients, assisted the president of the company, interacted with our branches in other states, planned company parties, had my own assistant...the list goes on. After I left work, I was “just” doing ministry with Mark, keeping the home, preparing for our first baby, and discipling young women. I had to process my thoughts of not feeling valuable because I wasn’t making money and “only” caring for my family and church.
Unfortunately, the culture constantly feeds us lies that our value is in what we do rather than in the God who created us in his image (see, “Godly, Woman, Wife, Mother & Friend”). Intially, I had bought into some of those lies and felt defeated, even while being obedient to the Bible and my convictions.
Here are some questions I processed through in that transition from work to home.
Should I keep working and have someone else care for my baby?
God tells us that children are a blessing, and we learn from them as much as they learn from us. If I missed out on raising my kids then we all would have suffered. God has used my kids to reveal sin areas in my life and to give me a tenderness that I didn’t have before. Is it hard work to train and raise kids? Absolutely, but it forces us, in a good way, to depend on Jesus and his wisdom and faithfulness. He never leaves us or forsakes us, and we need to be there for our children—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Should I help my husband provide for our family financially?
Work was around before sin in the Bible. So, it’s not a sin to work. However, after the curse, it came with toil for the man (Genesis 3). We have our own curse to carry as women in the pains of childbearing, and we don’t need to take on our husband's too. Admittedly, there are times when a woman may need to provide for her family even if married—such as a woman I know whose husband got a horrible ailment that kept him bedridden for most of a year—but that is the exception, not the norm. Mark was willing to work, and even though we were very poor in the early years of the church, he provided the income, and I stretched every dollar so I could be home with our children.
Will I get bored at home and want to work again?
I honestly don’t know how someone can get bored at home with their kids. There is always something to be working on. If you spend time developing as a godly woman, wife, and mom, you will be busy. There are endless projects to do, studying how to organize the home, making healthy meal plans, working on a relationship with your kids (even when they are babies), and the million tasks that are involved with having a home and family. In addition, there is informal ministry to one's family, friends, and neighbors, as well as formal ministry as a volunteer leader in the church for those who have the time to take on more.
What if I’m not a good mom or don’t know what I’m doing?
When you become a mom, God starts giving you discernment on what to do. As Christians, we also have the Holy Spirit of whom we can ask for wisdom with decisions. In our church community, we can ask other moms and wise women what their methods are with raising kids. Remember that the same methods don’t work with all kids, so take advice and, if it doesn’t work, then try other ways. As you step out to raise your kids, you will get to know them better and learn better ways for them specifically.
Will I get to use my gifts?
I have struggled with this over the years of being a mom. Sometimes it can feel like you change diapers, clean, and cook, and then do it all over, day after day. I had to pray and ask God to keep in check my attitude of serving my family. The season of “little kids” can feel endless in the moment, but it goes extremely fast when you look back. God faithfully serves us, even when we are faithless, so staying home to serve the family is a good reminder of how our serving reflects God’s faithfulness. We do use our gifts with our family, and we need to be content and joyful with that. It doesn’t mean that we will never get to serve outside of the family, but it does mean that time doesn’t always allow for that and that we need to keep our priorities.
Will people think I have an easy life and not notice if I’m working hard at home?
This can be a defeating thought, but we must ask ourselves why we are seeking approval of man and not resting in the love of God. We don’t have anything to prove to God. He loves us more than we can imagine. People will give their opinions, but we are accountable before God for our actions. If we know we are doing what God is asking of us as moms, then we can disregard public opinion.
When you struggle with being a homemaker, if you feel condemned or guilty instead of convicted, that is a tactic from the enemy to tempt you to sin. The Holy Spirit’s job is to convict us of our sin and instruct us in obedience. If we ignore him, we quickly start to believe lies and rationalize our sinful actions.
Is it a sin to work? No, but it’s a sin to not keep godly priorities—godly woman, wife, mom, and friend. There are many people who can work jobs, but only you can raise the children with whom God has blessed you.
Do you feel connected with your parents? Could they have spent more time investing in their relationship with you? Many fears and pains that we have as parents today are because of neglectful parenting in our own childhood. Do we want our kids’ lives to be different? I pray that as we transition from the workplace to the workhome, that women will see why God’s way is always the best way.